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Avoid fraudulent and unsafe prescription medication by purchasing from legitimate sites. Enter a website URL to verify its safety.

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Safe Online Pharmacies

It is essential to stay informed about safe ways to buy medication. Buying prescription medicine online or through social media may seem to cost less, but it can put you, or your loved ones, at risk. Make sure a website is legitimate to safely order prescription drugs and medicine online.

NABP has identified more than 40,000 websites that fail to comply with NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards, or applicable laws.

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Nearly 95% of websites offering prescription-only drugs online operate illegally.


96% of illegal online pharmacies reviewed by NABP did not require a valid prescription for the sale of prescription-only medicine.


24% of Americans who have used an online pharmacy have been exposed to harmful, counterfeit, or substandard medication, according to ASOP.

Purchase Medication From Legitimate Websites

Safe, verified online pharmacies meet the following requirements:

  • Are licensed by regulators in the jurisdiction in which they are located, as well as regulators in the patient’s jurisdiction
  • Accept only valid prescriptions
  • Comply with applicable drug laws and professional practice laws
  • Provide readily accessible contact information for patient care inquiries
  • Comply with privacy laws and ensure patient confidentiality

Check the Safe Site Search Tool: Verify Before You Buy

To protect yourself when ordering medications online, use NABP’s Safe Site Search Tool. You can check whether a website is accredited by NABP or not recommended by searching for the web address. Review a list of the current websites that have been accredited by us; download an Excel list to learn more.

Another way to find an accredited website is to look for .pharmacy at the end of the web address. When a website ends in .pharmacy, it has been accredited by NABP. Unlike logos, the .pharmacy domain cannot be faked or forged.

For those interested in applying for a .pharmacy domain, visit our main website.

NABP identifies a website as Not Recommended when, upon review, it appears to be out of compliance with NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards, or applicable law. Some Not Recommended websites do not sell drugs directly. Instead, they refer patients to websites that operate in violation of NABP patient safety and pharmacy practice standards or applicable law.

Not Recommended websites commonly facilitate:

  • the sale of prescription-only medicine without requiring a valid prescription.
  • the sale of medicine that has not been approved or authorized for sale in the patient’s jurisdiction.
  • the practice of pharmacy without required licensure in all relevant jurisdictions.

If a website you visited is suspicious, but is not currently listed as Not Recommended, report it.

If you believe your website is mistakenly included on the Not Recommended List, email to request information about NABP’s appeals process.

Warning Signs to Spot an Unsafe Online Pharmacy

You may be able to avoid purchasing medication from an illegitimate pharmacy by knowing what to look for. Unsafe online pharmacies can be identified if they:

  • are not licensed by your state board of pharmacy;
  • lack a licensed pharmacist to address your questions; 
  • provide medicines different from your usual pharmacy or in damaged packaging; 
  • offer discounts that seem too good to be true or “bonus pills”; 
  • only accept cryptocurrency or peer-to-peer payment methods; 
  • charge for products you never ordered or received; 
  • lack clear written protections for your personal and financial information; or 
  • sell your information to other websites. 

Review our common questions about finding accredited sites to learn more about how you can keep yourself safe.

Resources for Safely Buying Online

Use these resources when you purchase medication online:

Risks of Buying From an Unverified Website

  • Receiving bogus medication that fails to treat your medical condition
  • Receiving pills with dangerous fillers, such as drywall and rat poison
  • Buying drugs that have not been authorized for sale by your country’s medicine agency
  • Falling victim to fraud and identity theft
  • Exposing your computer to malware

Some illegal online pharmacies pretend to be based in Canada to give the illusion of more stringent regulations and safer drugs, but they may be based in countries without the regulatory safeguards found in the US and Canada. Read more in NABP’s Rogue Rx Activity Report.

Other online drug sellers sell deadly pills laced with fentanyl. These dangerous medications are often sold through social media platforms and target adolescents and young adults. In 2023, Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 86 million fentanyl pills, which exceeds the prior year’s total of 59.6 million fentanyl-laced fake pills. The 2022 seizures are equivalent to more than 397 million lethal doses of fentanyl. Fentanyl-laced pills have been found in every state and are linked to numerous deaths throughout the US. According to DEA, fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. A dose of only 2 milligrams, the size of 2 grains of salt, is fatal for most people. Learn more about the threats illegal drugs pose in DEA’s National Drug Threat Assessment.

Learn more about Charlie’s story from Song for Charlie, a family-run nonprofit charity dedicated to raising awareness about the emerging dangers of self-medication and casual drug use in the fentanyl era.

Talk To Your Teen About Buying Medication Online

With the popularity of social media, there is increased access to illegal drugs. Parents and caregivers should be aware of how they can spread the message and teach young adults about medication safety. 

  • Avoid lecturing your teen. Reassure your teen that they can be honest and open with any questions. 
  • Consider media messages. Talk about what your teen sees and hears on social media, television, movies, and songs. 
  • Discuss reasons to not use drugs. Talk to your teen about the harmful effects drugs can have on their body and life.

Educational Resources

Spread the word in your community about buying medication safely online with our Verify Before You Buy education kit. Find resources including:

  • sample social media posts
  • flyers
  • images
  • educational information

Common Questions About Finding Accredited Websites

Q: Why is a pharmacy not included in the list of Accredited Healthcare Merchants?
A: Only pharmacies that have achieved NABP’s Healthcare Merchant Accreditation are included on the list.
Q: I am located in the United States. Are there any Canadian pharmacies I should purchase from?
A: Currently, no Canadian pharmacy is licensed in the US. For that reason, no Canadian pharmacy that offers shipping to the US is NABP-accredited. 
To protect patients from harm, each US state requires that resident and non-resident pharmacies obtain pharmacy licenses. Without a valid license, it is difficult (if not impossible) for state regulators to directly inspect or investigate claims of patient harm; this is especially true when the activity is coming from outside the regulator’s jurisdiction.
Q: How does NABP review pharmacy websites?
A: NABP reviews pharmacies based on our criteria which, among other things, require compliance with applicable laws such as appropriate licensure and adherence to pharmacy practice standards. Learn more about Healthcare Merchant Accreditation.
Q: What should I do If I find a suspicious website that is not on the Not Recommended List?
If a website you visit is suspicious, but is not currently listed on the Not Recommended List, report it.